Thursday, March 29, 2007

New York's Outdated Divorce Laws

New York is the only state that does not have no-fault divorce. Couples in that state that want to divorce quickly without blame are out of luck.

From the Associated Press:

New York is the only state that won't allow the speedy dissolution of a marriage without proof that one spouse is somehow at fault, experts say. Adultery is sufficient grounds, but irreconcilable differences are not. "He beats me" (with proof) works, but "We grew apart" doesn't cut it.

The system has been ridiculed as hopelessly outdated, and sometimes results in endless litigation and spouses leaving the state to evade the law. This week, in what some see as more proof of the law's absurdity, a jury denied the bickering Taubs a divorce."I think it's an anachronistic, completely inefficient process," said Bernard Clair, a divorce lawyer.

"Today, divorce is really about dividing an economic partnership. The dirty laundry aspects play no role except to jazz up the clients and distract them from the real issues of the case."Under New York divorce law, couples can split up without either spouse being assigned blame, but only if they first sign a division-of-property agreement and live apart for a year.

Couples who want to end a marriage more quickly than that have been known to lie, move or tarnish their own reputations.If the desire for a divorce is mutual, but neither side wants to wait a year, one common ruse is to have one party take the blame.

A popular ground is "constructive abandonment," in which one spouse alleges the other won't have sex. The other spouse agrees not to contest the allegation.

Not all Dems happy with Military Funding Bill

Not every Democrat is celebrating the passage of the House version of the Military Funding bill. Dennis Kucinich makes his views known in this article found at the video blog Ravel Babel:
Another sore point with Kucinich is that the bill "sets the stage for the privatization of Iraq’s ... oil industry.

"To have the Democratic Party involved in something like that is outrageous," he said. "Furthermore, we should be pushing for the stabilization of Iraq’s food and energy crisis. There’s no talk about that. Basically we’re blaming Iraq for the disaster that the United States and this administration visited upon them. We’re telling them, either they’re going to get their house in order or we’re going to leave. Well, you know what, this approach is wrongheaded and the Democrats should have known better and they should have done better."
Read the Rest

Monday, March 26, 2007

Gonzales losing support

Key Republicans are abandoning support for Attorney General Alberto Gonzales:
Three key Republican senators sharply questioned his truthfulness over the firings last fall of eight federal prosecutors. Two more Democrats on Sunday joined the list of lawmakers calling for Gonzales' ouster.

Several Republicans also urged President Bush to allow sworn testimony from his top aides about their role in dismissing the U.S. attorneys — a standoff threatening to result in Capitol Hill subpoenas of White House officials.

Gonzales faces the toughest test of his two-year tenure at the Justice Department with the release of documents suggesting he was more involved with the firings than he indicated earlier.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

More Troubles For Edwards Family

This from CNN:
CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (CNN) -- Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards said Thursday his wife's cancer has returned but his bid for the White House will continue.

"The campaign goes on," the former senator from North Carolina said at a news conference, contradicting earlier media reports to the contrary.

John Edwards said tests this week had shown his wife, Elizabeth, had cancer in a rib on her right side. He said the cancer is treatable but not curable.

"We are very optimistic about this," he said, noting that the tumor is small in size and has a "relatively minimal presence."

Elizabeth Edwards said she was "incredibly optimistic" and said her expectations about the future were unchanged.

"I expect to do next week all the things I did last week. And the week after that, and next year at the same time," she said.

And she wanted her husband to continue his run for the presidency.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

'Bong Hits 4 Jesus'

We think this case made it to the Supreme Court for the message on the sign.

WASHINGTON - A high school senior’s 14-foot banner proclaiming “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” gave the Supreme Court a provocative prop for a lively argument Monday about the extent of schools’ control over student speech.

If the justices conclude Joseph Frederick’s homemade sign was a pro-drug message, they are likely to side with principal Deborah Morse. She suspended Frederick in 2002 when he unfurled the banner across the street from the school in Juneau, Alaska.

“I thought we wanted our schools to teach something, including something besides just basic elements, including the character formation and not to use drugs,” Chief Justice John Roberts said Monday.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Tribe's Video Gambling Nixed

From the Houston Chronicle:
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Catawba Indian Nation may not offer video gambling on its reservation because it would violate a state law prohibiting the games, the South Carolina Supreme Court ruled Monday.

The Catawbas, the only federally recognized tribe in South Carolina, sued in 2005 for the right to offer video gambling, arguing their 1993 land deal with the state allowed it.

A South Carolina law banned video gambling in 2000.

The state contends that the land deal means the tribe's reservation falls under state, not federal, gambling laws. The Catawbas disagree and said they would appeal.

"This is just another round," said tribe attorney Dwight Drake.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Senate Seeking Answers to Attorney Firings

The New York Times reports:
WASHINGTON, March 13 — Senate Democrats vowed today to get explanations, with or without subpoenas, from high Bush administration officials as revelations about the dismissal of federal prosecutors put renewed pressure on the White House.

“Just when we thought our faith could not be shaken any further, it has been,” said Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York and a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “The latest revelations prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there has been unprecedented breach of trust, abuse of power and misuse of the Justice Department.”

Mr. Schumer was reacting to disclosures by administration officials on Monday that the White House was deeply involved in the decision late last year to dismiss federal prosecutors, including some who had been criticized by Republican lawmakers.

Mr. Schumer, who called over the weekend for the resignation of Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, renewed that call today. The senator also said Karl Rove, President Bush’s top political adviser, “should not wait for a subpoena” but should come before Congress at once to tell what he knows about the affair.

So should Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel and one-time Supreme Court nominee, “who was deeply involved in this ill-conceived project,” Mr. Schumer said.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and also a member of the Judiciary Committee, said she had always believed that the attorney general’s office “stood apart from the White House.”

“And now I learn that much of what I had believed, at least about this attorney general’s office, is in fact not the case,” Senator Feinstein said. Predicting that a full inquiry may take a while, she said: “We will go that distance. And we will dig just as deep as is required.”
More of the Story

Sunday, March 11, 2007

The Sooner Thought Podcast

Even law watchers have to take a break every now and then, and when we do, we listens to the Sooner Thought Podcast by our good friend Alex.

DISCLOSURE: We're not just saying that; Alex really is a friend of ours, and we're not above plugging for a friend. No money has changed hands, we're doing a favor because he asked nicely and we think his podcast is entertaining, thought-provoking ... well, you get the picture.

We don't know about his choice of guests sometimes, like this Jake numb-nuts from Ravel Babel. Just go check out his site and you'll see what we mean.

Give Alex and his Sooner Thought Podcast a try. You'll never go back.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


We all know the outcome of the trial of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Here are comments from the Democratic congressional leaders:

House Speaker Nancy Peolsi:
Today’s guilty verdicts are not solely about the acts of one individual.

This trial provided a troubling picture of the inner workings of the Bush Administration. The testimony unmistakably revealed – at the highest levels of the Bush Administration – a callous disregard in handling sensitive national security information and a disposition to smear critics of the war in Iraq.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:
Washington, DC — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid today released the following statement on news that a jury has found Lewis "Scooter" Libby, former Chief of Staff to Vice President Dick Cheney, guilty of perjury and obstruction of justice.

"I welcome the jury's verdict. It's about time someone in the Bush Administration has been held accountable for the campaign to manipulate intelligence and discredit war critics. Lewis Libby has been convicted of perjury, but his trial revealed deeper truths about Vice President Cheney's role in this sordid affair. Now President Bush must pledge not to pardon Libby for his criminal conduct."

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Going overboard?

Does this strike you as going just a bit too far? Or is it OK to mark offenders this way?

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The cars of sexual predators would be marked by fluorescent green license plates under a unique proposal before Ohio lawmakers.

A bill introduced Wednesday by two legislators, Democratic Rep. Michael DeBose and Republican Sen. Kevin Coughlin, would require all habitual and child-oriented sex offenders to display the easy-to-spot plates.

It is something no other state has tried, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, though some require a designation to appear on sex offenders’ driver’s licenses. An earlier Ohio proposal to require pink plates for sex offenders was unsuccessful.
What's next? Summary execution?